My unconventional initiation into photography would come to inform my future practice. By chance I discovered a neighbours portfolio whereupon I was confronted by images of contorted figures languishing in tropical foliage. Glittering glass fused with flesh eluded explanation. I was seduced by the Kodachrome palette of sanguine reds and emerald greens. These extraordinary images, terrifyingly beautiful, were the keepsake of a retired forensic photographer from the Bermuda Police Force. The visceral, abstracted photographs were of knife attack, gun shot and car crash victims. At once I understood that no topic was taboo and no subject sacrosanct. The photographer could ask any question and the lens could be trained in any direction. Conventions and boundaries could and must be examined.
The ‘portrait’ came to be a reoccurring theme throughout my practice. Here I’m at odds with my contemporaries. I refuse to perpetuate stereotyped ideals of beauty or gender. I do not subscribe to the doctrine that the portrait captures the essence of the subject in one immaculate shot- I possess no powers of divination. The subject is the manifestation of the photographer- both personalities reside within the frame. My portraits and Biopic series refute the dogma of ‘one defining image, one decisive moment, one truth’.
touch, an ongoing study of ‘personal space’ and boundaries began in 2005. The subject, without instruction or direction, places my hand in the frame and in doing so illustrates their ‘cultural and psychological limits of connectedness’. Extensive case studies of groups such as Glasgow’s homeless and India’s ‘Other Backward Classes and Untouchables’ have revealed collective characteristics and commonalities. Social and cultural attitudes towards the body, voyeurism and nakedness are exposed in naked touch. Throughout touch the convention that the photographer should remain inconspicuous is contravened as I am present in every image leading the viewer into the frame.
In Diving ‘singularity’ is employed as a method to deliver an uninterrupted chain of events; one artist, one subject, one camera, one light, one musician. Diving is film composed for music comprising nine silent cinematic movements. Each ‘movement’ is a portrait, in slow-motion, of an individual who has undergone extraordinary, often unimaginable, life changing experiences. HIV, addiction, violence, trauma and paralysis are some of the issues explored. Diving is accompanied live by a musician who conveys the emotions as they unfold onscreen; film and music are both intrinsic and inextricable. Throughout Diving the unquestioned trust between artist and subject unlocks moments of profound intimacy as suppressed or harboured emotions surface. These shared moments engage the audience in catharsis, reassurance or self-reflection.